A Vegetarian Winter Curry for the Holidays and Beyond
Winter vegetables such as butternut squash and pumpkins may make an appearance on your holiday table, but they’re also delicious and nutritious ingredients all year long—not just in sweet dishes like pies, but also in savory meals like fried rice or soup.
“Squash is a fantastic celebration of autumn, exploration of locally indigenous ingredients cooked here for thousands of years, and a staple in so many cuisines,” says Momen, whose professional background spans entrepreneurship program leadership, nonprofit advocacy, and communications.
She notes that while the curry is great on its own, it’s also scrumptious when smeared on a flatbread with ricotta cheese, rolled into a tamale with pipian sauce, or blended into a soup with coconut milk.
Recipe: Pumpkin Curry
- 4 pounds of pumpkin or butternut squash (about 1-2 small, whole pumpkins or one large butternut squash)
- 3 tbsp oil or ghee
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder (or a whole dried chili)
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves
- 2 tsp panch phoron: a five-spice blend that includes cumin, fenugreek, brown mustard seeds, fennel, and nigella seeds
- salt, pepper
- Tamarind paste, optional
- 1 bunch coriander: stems and leaves
- 1 lime
Directions: Halve or quarter the pumpkin or squash and scrape out all the seeds. Drizzle with 1 tsp oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Cube once cool. Brown onions in remaining oil for 5 minutes until golden brown, add garlic and spices (turmeric, chili powder, coriander, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, panch phoron). Fry for 3 minutes, add in diced pumpkin, and coat well with spice and onion mixture. Add tamarind paste (if desired) and half a cup of water and bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Add coriander, toss all together, and adjust salt as needed. Garnish with lime and serve with rice.
For flatbread: Spread on your favorite pizza dough and add ricotta cheese, pumpkin seeds, sour cherries, and olive oil.
For soup: Blend the curry mix with 1 cup of red lentils, add coconut milk and 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, and simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish with mint and cilantro.